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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Ayahuasca is a mixture of a least two psychoactive South American plants
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Ayahuasca is a mixture of a least two psychoactive South American plants: the liana ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis  caapi) which gives its ...
English: Banisteriopsis caapi, Province of Pas...
Ayahuasca is a mixture of a least two psychoactive South American plants: the liana ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis 
caapi) which gives its name to the beverage; and the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria viridis). The ayahuasca 
beverage constitutes a unique preparation because of its pharmacological action in which the beta-carboline 
alkaloids of Banisteriopsis caapi, playing the role of MAO inhibitors, enable the visionary effects of the 
tryptamine alkaloids found in Psychotria viridis. This specific symbiotic action, which modern science 
identified just a few decades ago, has been empirically known for at least 3000 years by the Indigenous groups 
of the western Amazon, according to archaeological evidence (Naranjo P., 1983). This simple fact deserves our 
attention because it reveals the extraordinary investigative potential of these ethnic groups, based on the 
compilation of information from the subjective perspective, which challenges our conventional western approach 
that tends towards exclusive objectivity with a rational focus. In other words, the psychotherapeutic discoveries 
of these Amazonian Indigenous peoples are not the result of mere chance or erratic investigation following the 
trial and error approach (Narby 1998). It is significant that both families of alkaloids of ayahuasca are also 
present in our bodies (Strassman 2001) and affect the serotonergic system, which suggests the existence of a 
natural, endogenous ayahuasca (Metzner et al 1999). Human use of use ayahuasca does not, therefore, constitute 
an external agent that could violate our physiology, but rather, it appeals to natural neuro-pharmacological 
processes, empowering them in ways that amplify their normal functionsi
Interest in the topic of ayahuasca among populations of developed countries has increased over the last 20 years 
to the point of becoming a fashionable phenomena. Enthusiasm for this topic has widely exceeded the 
framework of the academic community and scientific laboratories. This interest is derived from the expansion of 
self-exploration initiated in the 1960s; an exploration that sought to confront the lack of satisfying answers from 
the churches, the philosophical schools, and the psychotherapeutic traditions. It was a reaction to the general 
secularization of society that has abolished the ritual forms, liturgies or symbolic experiential spaces that permit 
the individual to experience, in a sensitive manner, the semantic dimensions of life and to consequently give 
meaning to their everyday life
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